Schools are going for a midterm break starting Thursday 19th November 2021 to Tuesday 21st November 2021.
Both primary and secondary schools will close for two week days before resuming classes on Tuesday next week.
Initially Ministry officials only issued a directive for secondary schools to break for midterm this week but after squabbles from primary school teachers a new order was issued binding all primary and secondary schools to go for half term break.
In 2018 the government through the then Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed extended the mid term break to primary schools.
Amina noted that all children must be given time to rest while teachers also need time to re-energize.
According to the new school calendar all schools will close for term two on 23rd December 2021. The break will take ten days before learning resumes again on 3rd January 2021 when term one starts.
KCPE candidates will sit for their national on exams on 7th March 2022 till 10th March 2022. KCSE candidates will sit theirs from 11th March 2022 to 1st April 2022.
Failure to slot in the half-term break during this school term has been cited as the main reason for rising cases unrest being reported across the country.
Secondary school heads say that the 11 weeks learning period under the revised term dates has put pressure on children leading to ‘wayward’ behaviour.
Kahi Indimuli, secondary school heads association national chairman, said that second term is often a busy learning period as most teachers work to cover the syllabus.
He said this effort by teachers to cover learning areas must have also put pressure on children.
Indimuli also said that failure to resume school games and activities have also closed avenues for children to ventilate, putting pressure on learners as well.
“If we have resumed sporting activities across all fields why have we continued to close for schools. we need these games and activities to also help children,’ said Indimuli.
On Monday the Ministry of Education allowed primary and secondary schools to resume co-curricular activities which had been suspended due to coronavirus.
Through a circular dated 15th November 2021 Principal Secretary for Basic Education, Julius Juan, has ordered school heads to engage learners in internal co-curricular activities and inter school contests.
“Ministry of Education advises principals to engage learners in internal co-curricular activities guided inter-school contest over the weekend and after classes,” Jwan directed.
However Jwan directed the principals to ensure minimal or no physical contact during the activities.
This latest directive comes amid high cases of students’ unrest and arson in more than 30 schools across the country weeks after the ministry banned all extra-curricular activities in learning institutions.
While reopening schools after the Covid-19 break, President Uhuru Kenyatta banned all extra-curricular activities in schools such as sports, drama, music and prize-giving days.
Also among the school activities banned were exchange visits between schools.
“That all extra-curricular activities such as sports, drama, music and prize-giving days, involving more than one school remain prohibited for the next 90 days; and all exchange visits between schools shall remain prohibited for the same period,” Uhuru said in an Executive Order.
As per the Executive Order, all learners and teachers were required to wear appropriate facemasks when on the school premises or within school transport.
“That all schools shall ensure that they have adequate handwashing stations corresponding to their student population, in line with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education; schools experiencing water problems must ensure that there is adequate availability of hand sanitisers for both the students and the teachers,” the Executive Order read in part.
Failure for the government to send all capitation money to schools and parents inability to settle outstanding fees also starved schools of the much-needed cash.
“We need to provide some items to children but we are unable because we do not have the money,” said Indimuli.
However, even as principals pitched their case for rising cases of school fires, the government is faulted for failing to implement the recommendations of past task forces that prescribed solutions to end of unrest.
The gory images of Buruburu Girls students jumping out of narrow windows during the dormitory fire have put the government on spot for failing to implement safety measures recommended in various reports.
A task force report commissioned in 2016 laid bare causes of school fires, especially during the second term, but a spot check in schools reveals that the findings largely remain on paper.
The recommendations of another government document, titled Safety Standards Manual for Schools, produced in 2008 also largely remain on paper.
School heads are also on spot for failing to implement directives issued by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to enhance students’ safety and improve vigilance in institutions.
The schools’ unrest debate is a topic discussed in hushed tones in staff rooms and even in the Ministry of Education offices.
However, in its findings, the Claire Omolo Report unearthed major administrative flaws in schools and the existence of backward criminal practices and punishable oversights that spark unrest in schools.
The team also exposed poor living conditions, blatant disregard of government policies and collusion between students and teachers that led to unrest, threatening the lives of innocent learners.
Other reasons that led to unrest are school administrators’ highhandedness, bad school rules and lack of proper communication channels further fanned the fires that paralysed learning during the third term of 2016.
Consequently, the children resorted to burning buildings in schools especially dormitories, administration blocks, classrooms and food stores.